For my undergraduate degree at Indiana University, I pursued a BS in Environmental Science which was a joint degree between the College of Arts and Sciences and SPEA. Because of the way this program was set up, I left my undergraduate career with a strong and solid background in the physical science but I lacked a great understanding of environmental management and policy. So, since my plan in life is to change the world (either in energy or agriculture policy), I felt like it was necessary to understand the policy and regulations that go into shaping the world that we live in. And that is where the SPEA’s Masters Program came into my life…..
I was asked in the fall of 2009 to apply for the accelerated Master’s Program at SPEA. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the accelerated program, it is where you finish your undergrad degree in three years and you start your masters degree your last year in undergrad and finish with it the following year (aka a 3-2 program). Although I was already a senior, this seemed like a pretty good deal – I didn’t have to take the GRE’s and I would be able to get a semester out of the way. After doing some research about the program, I found out it offered exactly what I wanted. I would be able to pursue a MPA degree and I could add the MSES degree to strengthen my science background. And you could also understand my excitement when I found out the concentration I wanted to pursue, Environmental Policy and Natural Resource Management, was ranked # 1 in the country. Needless to say, I applied as quickly as I could and I was ecstatic when I found out I was accepted.
It’s strange to think that all of this occurred only a year ago. For those of you who could be at this point in your life right now, I would definitely recommend looking at your options (but seriously consider SPEA – and yes, I’m biased). Since I was able to start the program early, I didn’t really look around at other schools. But I definitely feel like it says something that I would be willing (and excited) to stay in Bloomington for another two years. Bloomington and SPEA offer amazing things that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. Bloomington is a great city with so much to do and SPEA offers remarkable programs with extraordinary faculty and incredible students (to sum it up very quickly). And where else could you go to pursue a joint Master’s in Public Affairs and a Master of Science in Environmental Science with a concentration in Environmental Policy and Natural Resource Management – jealous? 🙂
Good luck with your graduate school search and we hope to see you soon!